Post-Surgery Guidelines

 

Important

The success of surgical procedures is a combination of the extent of the condition before surgery, your patient’s health, what we do in surgery, what your patient does after the surgery and what you do during the recovery period.
 
If your pet has undergone general anesthesia for the procedure. One or many of the following can happen after anesthesia:
  • your pet may be groggy for about 12-24 hours. Please give some assistance when getting into/out of the car (for dogs), and when walking or climbing stairs. Keep your pet confined at home for 12-24 hours to prevent accidents.
  • Pacing, disorientation, and vocalization may occur in the early recovery period. Please give us a call if any of these signs persist longer than 3 days.
  • It is best to completely keep children away from your pet for 24 to 48 hours because your pet may experience residual anesthesia and possible postoperative pain and could be unpredictable.
  • Your pet may have a decreased appetite and water intake for a few days. Please only offer half a meal the day of the surgery. It might take 2-3 days before your pet starts to eat and drink normally.
  • It might take a few days for some pets to urinate or have normal bowels movements.
  • As the anesthetic agents wear off, your pet may experience slight discomfort. Please do not hesitate to contact us immediately if you think your pet is experiencing severe pain so that we can make recommendations accordingly.
  • Please do not give your pet any medications other than what was prescribed during surgery. If your pet still seems painful, please contact us.
  • Some pets may experience a sore throat with a subsequent cough for a few days due to endotracheal intubation (tube placed down the trachea for general anesthesia). Please give us a call if this persists over 5-7 days.

Home medications and instructions

Medications dispensed are on a case-to-case basis. We are sure to check the complete history of each pet and prescribe medications based on each pets’ specific needs.

Recovery instructions are based on the type of surgery that was performed on your pet.

On the day of your pets scheduled outpatient procedure, a technician will provide you with the necessary documentation on how to care for your pet post-surgery.

Below are basic instructions on how to care for your pet for the first TWO weeks after surgery.

  • Strict activity restriction for 2 weeks. Absolutely no jumping, no running, no running up and down the stairs, no playing with other pets and kids for 2 weeks. We know how difficult it can be to restrict activity after surgery but many complications can be avoided completely just by preventing too much activity in the immediate postoperative period.
  • Leash-walks only for 2 weeks
  • E-collar for 2 weeks. E-collar all pet mates or keep them separated for 2 weeks
  • No baths or swimming for 2 weeks
  • Please keep the incisions as clean and dry as possible
  • Monitor incision sites daily for excessive redness, swelling, discharge (purulent), dehiscence and call us if you are concerned at all.
  • Staple/Suture removal in 2 weeks. A technician will let you know if this step applies to your pet.

Potential complications – See photos below

Seroma: Fluid accumulation at the incision site due to tissue irritation and that is normal. If this happens, please continue with the cold compress only until the swelling has gone down significantly. The body will absorb it overtime.
Bruising: When small blood vessels get torn and leak blood under the skin.
Dehiscence: Sutures or staples fail to hold the skin together or pet chews them off!
Infection: Pus accumulation or discharge from incision site
Hemorrhage: Blood oozing from incision site
Necrosis: Tissue dies off, which will result in subsequent dehiscence.
Please note that a little bit of redness and seroma at the incision sites are very common and caused by tissue irritation. An ER visit is NOT necessary for a seroma!
If the seroma is drained, it can introduce an infection. PLEASE BE AWARE!
Do not use hydrogen peroxide to clean any wound. A warm cloth is preferable.
 
There will be a fee to re-staple the incision sites, if it needs to be re-stapled for any reason. Please call us, we are here to help!
 

Recheck

ALL rechecks will be discussed at each patient’s time of discharge. Rechecks are dependent on the type of procedure performed.
Please do not hesitate to give us a call if you have any questions or concerns at (720)306-9900.

Seroma Photos

The last 2 photos are what happens with gravity, the seroma ends up in the ankle instead of at the surgery site.

Brusing Photos

Dehiscence Photos

(images may be disturbing, viewer discretion advised)

Infection Photos

Necrosis Photos

(images may be disturbing, viewer discretion advised)